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Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro Announces Investigation Into Marketing of Vytorin and Zetia
Date:1/16/2008

SEATTLE, Jan. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro has begun an investigation concerning actions by Merck (NYSE: MRK) and Schering-Plough (NYSE: SGP), manufacturers of Zetia and Vytorin. The investigation is looking into charges of whether Merck and Schering-Plough violated state consumer protection laws arising from the sale and marketing of Zetia and Vytorin.

Vytorin is the combination of Zetia and Zocor, a statin now available as a generic drug for about one-third of the cost.

The investigation centers around charges that the companies have known since 2006 that the combination of drugs was no more effective than the generic version of Zocor in blocking the fatty arterial plaques that can cause heart attack and stroke, as it led consumers to believe.

Zetia is a brand-name prescription used to lower LDL levels by decreasing cholesterol absorption in the intestinal tract. Other cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins work in the liver.

Zetia was developed by Schering-Plough and jointly marketed by Merck and Shering-Plough, as is Vytorin.

According to published reports, the two companies promoted Zetia heavily, advertising that by adding it to statin treatment, patients could more effectively lower LDL cholesterol which they claim would, in turn, reduce plaque in patients' arteries.

But according to media reports, the companies had prior information that refuted that claim.

On January 14, 2008, Merck/Schering-Plough released the results of a drug trial inten
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SOURCE Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro
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